New £1.7m lifeline for 'at risk' Birmingham building
Former Moseley School of Art will be restored to create a vibrant new community hub and business centre
A listed building considered 'at risk' for the past 20 years has been handed a £1.7 million lifeline which will see it transformed into a community centre and business hub.
The former Moseley School of Art, in Balsall Heath, opened in 1901 and was run as an art school for 76 years, counting Pop Art co-founder Peter Phillips, UB40 singer Ali Campbell and Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie
among its alumni.
Now known as Moseley Community Centre, the decaying grade II*-listed building will undergo a life-saving makeover courtesy of the £1.7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The fund initially awarded a development grant of £154,000 so its owner the Moseley Muslim Community Association could draw up detailed plans to save the prominent Victorian building and make sure it could offer up-to-date facilities.
And now this latest injection of capital will enable the association to carry out a full refurbishment, including a ground floor gallery to exhibit work by local artists and a permanent display charting the history of the building and some of its former pupils.
Flexible space on the first floor will provide office accommodation for local small businesses alongside hot desking facilities.
An existing first floor classroom will continue to be used for teaching but it will be upgraded so it can host seminars and public meetings.
The Arts and Crafts-style building, in Moseley Road, was the first purpose-built art school in the country, having been created as a branch of the Birmingham School of Art.
It was built in the 'Wrenaissance' style from designs by Birmingham architect WH Bidlake who was also a director of the Birmingham School of Art and the man behind several churches across the city.
The building in 1973
Campaign body Historic England has placed the building on its 'Heritage At Risk' register for the past 20 years and it has only been able to host activities because of the efforts of the Moseley Muslim Community Association to keep the doors open and carry out repairs.
The Pilgrim Trust has also granted £30,000 towards the project.
Vanessa Harbar, head of Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands, said: "We are delighted to support this project to restore the former Moseley School of Art, helping to secure its future as a creative hub for the community.
"Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will mean that more people will be able to get involved with, protect, and learn about the exciting heritage right on their doorstep."
Campaign body Historic England has already provided £243,000 to enable urgent repairs to the building and on its historic façade.
Its heritage at risk architect Cristina Gardiner said: "Repairing this beautiful and important Birmingham building and securing its future will provide the community with a real asset for future generations.
"We hope it will spur the regeneration of the surrounding area too."
Javed Arain, on behalf of the Moseley Muslim Community Association, said: "We are delighted that we have received the grant from HLF and Historic England for the restoration and refurbishment of this important building.
"This will help us to create a hub to meet the diverse needs of the local community and we hope that the success of this project will be a catalyst for the rejuvenation of the local area."